A couple of days ago, I received a query from an Administrator about the new Periscope App recently launched by Twitter. Given our negative experience with Yik Yak, he was concerned about whether we had seen this app and what our social media policy around this app looked like.
What is it?
Periscope is an app, owned by Twitter, that allows for live streaming to anyone with the app itself, or through Twitter. If streamed through Twitter, it allows anyone who follows you to view the live stream via the link generated and this can be watched for up to 24 hours after the live event. It also captures a video which can be saved to your camera roll. There is the option to share privately and publicly. It has been compared to Meerkat and I see several similarities to Google Hangouts on Air as well.
Ironically, we had used Periscope to live-stream our Student ED Tech day event launch the week before, so I was able to speak to the app personally. We had 80 people watch the event live. Some of these were total strangers, but many of them were teachers and administrators who were not able to join us in person. Luckily, no one posted anything inappropriate which could potentially have happened.
Are there concerns with this app? Absolutely. Recently, there was a CTV Broadcast re: Intellectual Property. In particular, the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight on May 4th drew attention to the App comparing it to Napster as in this CNN post.
I’ve also been thinking about it in terms of guest speakers as I have recently witnessed an adult using Periscope to live stream a session at a conference without the presenter’s consent. Do guest speakers now have to include in their contracts whether or not they can be video-taped or live-streamed? Perhaps. But, where consent is given, what an exciting opportunity to reach a larger audience and stretch limited PD funds.
If adults are making such unethical choices, imagine what might happen when an app like this gets into the hands of teens who don’t always possess sound judgement.
Like any social media tool there is both great potential and grave concern.
Can complete strangers demoralize a person streaming live? Yes.
Can teenagers make poor choices about what they choose to stream? Yes.
Is this any different than the countless other apps that have resulted in tragedy for teens (webcams, Youtube, Facebook, etc…,)? I don’t think so, though it may be too soon to tell. At least within this app, there isn’t the complete anonymity that exists with other social media tools.
Cool Mom Tech offers great insight about the dark side of this app in the hands of teenagers.
Yesterday, it was Yik Yak, today it’s Periscope, tomorrow, it will be something new. As a mother of two teenage daughters, the conversation is what’s most important. Questions like, “Have you heard about this?” “What is “cool” or interesting about the app?”, “How or why do you think people might be drawn to this tool?”, “What would you use it for?”, “What would you do if someone posts something inappropriate?” etc…are the kinds of conversation starters I have found to work with my own girls–don’t ask all of them or your kids will shut down! “Oh my gosh, mom!”. We also talk about the power of the screenshot (see below).
What Parents and Educators Should Know
Tip: We work together with our community to ensure our content rules are respected. Report any content that violates our Community Guidelines. (accessed at https://www.periscope.tv/tos)
As well, when I contacted the company about potential misuse and what to do about it, I was given the following very useful information:
Ideas for Education
I am a firm believer that we need to not only be aware of social media tools that are out there, but also positively model the use of these in an educational context.
With proper Freedom of Information (FOI) consent, here are a couple of ideas I have been thinking about:
-stream morning announcements to post to school Twitter feed (this idea came from the administrator to whom I referred at the beginning of this post).
-stream a kick off or launch to a school wide event (as we did with our ED Tech day)
-stream a part of the opening night or dress rehearsal of a school play to entice the school community to come and watch
-If students collaborate across schools have them come together in real time (see post for ideas here).
-live stream a music concert
-stream a Q & A or panel discussion with experts (College, University reps, Business leaders, authors, etc…). I got this idea from @web20classroom who was streaming a panel discussion a few weeks ago.
-Host a class debate and invite another class to view and adjudicate
-use the app or articles about the app as a springboard for discussion about Intellectual property, freedom of information rights, and copyright laws.
Here is a thoughtful post by Andrew Campbell on the topic.
Here is a post by Jay Wigmore that also delves into using Periscope in the Classroom.
Here is a post by Pernille Ripp that proposes caution when it comes to using Periscope in school.
Would love to hear your comments and suggestions.